SCOEL’s involvement in setting Occupational Exposure Limits
upa tional E
Ex posure Limi
in g Worker
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Occupational Exposure Limit Values: Protecting Workers Health
There are three main types of limit values:
• Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs) • Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Values (BOELVs) • Biological Limit Values (BLVs)
DG EMPL consults with the Advisory Committee of Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) in developing OELs. When an OEL is proposed by DGEMPL, the legislative procedure for its adoption can take one of two routes:
The Formal Legislative Procedure for developing EU OELs
If Proposed OELs
If Proposed OELs
Occupational Exposure Limits:
Pro tecting Workers Health
Binding OEL values/
Exposure Limit Values
Biological Limit Values
Introduce National OELs
based on Directives
Significance of EU- Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs)
Community IOELVs are health-based, non-binding values, derived from the most recent scientific data available and taking into account the availability of measurement techniques. They set threshold levels of exposure below which, in general, no detrimental effects are expected for any given substance after short term or daily exposure over a working life time. They are European objectives to assist the employers in determining and assessing risks. Socio-economic and technical feasibility factors are not taken into account when establishing IOELVs.
For any chemical agent for which an indicative OEL value is established at EU level,
Member States must establish a national exposure limit value, taking into account the
Community indicative limit value, determining its nature in accordance with national
legislation and practice.
• establishing a second list of IOELVs.
Aiming at a better support in protecting the health and safety of workers exposed to chemicals, a consolidated unofficial list of the current IOELVs is given below.
Significance of EU- Binding Occupational Exposure Limit Values (BOELVs)
BOELVs take account of socio-economic and technical feasibility factors as well as the
factors considered when establishing IOELVs. Therefore, when setting a BOELV policy
considerations are of major importance.
For any chemical agent for which a BOELV value is established at EU level, Member States must establish a corresponding national binding OEL value which can be stricter, but cannot exceed the Community limit value.
Biological Limit Values (BLVs)
A Biological Limit Value is a reference value presented as the concentration in the appropriate biological medium of the relevant agent, its metabolite, or indicator of effect.
For any chemical agent for which a Binding BLVs is established at EU level, Member States must establish a corresponding national binding BLV based on, but cannot exceed the Community limit value.
To date there is only one binding BLV, that of inorganic lead and its compounds.
Criteria for the selection of priority substances
When selecting candidate priority substances for setting OELs, the following criteria are taken into account:
• Epidemiological evidence including reported cases of ill-health in the
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